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article number 393
article date 11-06-2014
copyright 2014 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Our TV Commercials Change, Part 2 … Humans Adapt Tape Technology, Late 1950’s
by Harry McMahan

From the 1960 book TV Tape Commercials.
* * *




It is April, 1960. Here it is Monday morning and Chrysmobile’s big color spectacular goes on the air Wednesday night.

The commercials which were set have been thrown out suddenly. Good reason this time: Chrysmobile has just won the Pike’s Peak Economy run with an all-time mileage score in its class—just the claim and proof needed to prove the economy story against competition.

New York and Detroit—agency and client—are keeping the lines hot. Writers and producers even now are huddling on solutions.

By 12 noon the plan is set. Luncheon appointments are broken and the plan gets under way.

Monday afternoon the new scripts are finished, teletyped to Detroit. Taping is set for 1 p. m. Tuesday.


It’s late Monday night when the pre-production meeting winds up. Film newsreel clips of the Economy Run are on the way. The car drivers are flying in for studio interviews. All the previously prepared commercials have been checked for pickup scenes.

“Cellomatic”* is rushing with some special diagram animation on the economy features of the Chrysmobile engine.

* “Cellomatic” is the trade name of a special device that gives the illusion of animation for live TV and for tape. It will be discussed more fully in Chapter 7.

Tuesday morning brings the elements together for the final check-out. The three 2-minute commercials for the spectacular will be put together from these separate components.

- 3 production sequences lifted from the previously prepared commercials;
- 3 sequences of cars in action on the Detroit test track, previously shot with TV tape mobile equipment;

- 6 newsreel sequences from the Economy Run;
- miscellaneous background shots from the Economy Run setting, for use with electronic matting;

- 1 sequence (engine diagram) to be staged.

- 3 live studio interviews with drivers, to be staged with electronic matting against Economy Run film background setting;

- 3 live sequences with on-camera announcer, to be staged with electronic matting against a stylized 8x10-inch painting of Pike’s Peak:

- 7 titles for superimposures;

- 1 standard signature animating the Chrysmobile logo (previously shot on a film animation camera stand), to be presented over tape scene of precision engineering work (lifted from Chrysmobile’s recent closed circuit telecast on tape.)

“CELLOMATIC” GIVES ANIMATION TRICKS TO TAPE COMMERCIALS. Ingenious ways of developing limited animation and cartoon effects for tape commercials are provided in “Cellomatic,” a special device now available in key production centers.

Using art work, titles, overlays and optical effects, the machine can put the finished picture on a small screen where the live TV camera picks it up for the tape recorder. Color as well as black-and-white can be done.

It looks a bit complicated on paper, but the production team has it well organized. The animated diagram from Cellomatic is scheduled first. The client is present and approves the second take.

More time than scheduled is needed for the drivers. They work in their driving gear and electronic matting makes them appear against the background (on film) of the Economy Run finish. One driver blows his lines three times, but soon good takes are all on tape.


The announcer’s lines for each of the three films have to be shot two ways. Copy and research decided late Monday that there are two distinct approaches on this economy story. Two complete versions of the commercials will be made and pretested on studio audience panels tonight at 7:30.

Now it’s 4 o’clock and all the live studio material is on tape. Meantime, editing has been gearing all the components for final assembly. The separate tele-tape sequences are synchronized on two rolls, “A” and “B” so they can be put together with dissolves and other opticals. Then “A” and a third reel “C” will combine for alternate research version.

At 5:15 assembly rolls. The film newsreel stuff is pretty flat—it was an overcast day but the video control man “crisps” it up during the first transfer to tape. Then, since it is black-and-white and the rest of the commercial is in color, it is decided to tone the newsreel portion in sepia. It looks better now.


By 7:10 the three commercials and alternates are wrapped up. A little time has been lost because the client didn’t like the way the announcer pronounced “Chrysmobile” in one spot, so the one word is erased on the sound track and the announcer punches it in with more emphasis. All in all, the client is very happy as he goes out to dinner.

Two quick duplicates—in color—are run off and one set rushed over to the research session. Audience reactions are good, but research won’t have the final tabulations until in the morning.

It turns out the alternate version wins out on “total recall” in research and at 10 a. m. Wednesday they cut ‘em into the spectacular’s tele-tape—with 12 hours to spare . . .

So if this is that particular Wednesday, maybe you’ll watch ‘em on the air tonight. Everyone at the agency is pretty proud of ‘em.

FILM CAMERAS TURN TO TAPE FOR SPEED. It may seem unusual that Bell & Howell—long-time maker of Hollywood’s film equipment as well as home movie cameras and projectors—would turn to tape. But it was a rush: A 2-minute commercial and a show opening had to be produced in one day for a CBS spectacular to be aired the next night.
Of course the strings in the first picture didn’t show on camera—the first take proved that, without waiting for rushes. Interestingly enough, the script was written for filming but tape handled the story boards right down to the last optical. Production on the main commercial was done in two sequences, then spliced together.


It’s still April, 1960. It’s Monday again, and while Madison Avenue is fighting the battle of Pike’s Peak, a little TV station not a hundred miles away from that mountain top is putting its one and only Ampex into the day’s work.

The morning’s schedule seems to be mostly commercials. Some of the notations are interesting:

9:30 a. m. Broncho Buster’s Corral—12 King Korn Cereal tape commercials featuring Buster and Susie. (NOTE: To be submitted to New York for approval before telecast.)

10:15 a. m. Broncho Buster’s Corral—5 Central Shoe Store tape commercials featuring Buster and kid customers. (NOTE: Mr. Kellerman of Central will be present and give final approval.)

11:15 a. m. Weekly New Business Projects—Special Sales presentations on tape, sample commercials. (NOTE: See Sales Dept. for set-ups required.)

11:45 a. m. (SET UP FOR REMOTE FROM PARKING LOT CORNER) Program and commercials for Grand Canyon Motors’ “We Love Pedestrians!” (NOTE: 45 minutes will be taped for editing down to half-hour show. Remember, client wants to pick up those two special interview commercials from last month.)

What sort of day was it?—A day like any other Monday . . . but, after all, they’d been doing this sort of thing for quite a few weeks, now . . .


There’s a lot of difference between that simple commercial done by Buster and Susie out in Colorado and that big spectacular in New York. But both have a lot in common.

Both are moving more merchandise than ever before because television tape has opened the door to a new kind of commercial.

King Korn has the advantage of a vital local TV personality on its local selling job with controlled supervision from New York and complete integration with the national advertising campaign.

Chrysmobile has the advantage of a new, more flexible use of television as a marketing tool. It has made its commercial message “hot news,” got the jump on competition—and did it with top professional quality. Plus research guidance.

$56,000 TAPE COMMERCIALS ON TV ACADEMY AWARD WINNING SHOW. Chrysler Corporation’s “Forward Look” symbol topped the “Can Do” band for the first color spectacular use of tape commercials. The show was “An Evening with Fred Astaire” which went on to win 9 Television Academy Awards and a repeat performance—made possible because the show had been recorded on tape.
The six minutes of color commercials cost $56,000, a record at that time. A cast of 50, in addition to the 26-piece band, was featured. Don Tennant wrote the commercials, with John Christ producing for Leo Burnett Co., Inc., at NBC, Burbank.


Creatively, how are they better commercials? The action is more indirect than direct but the results are showing:

Buster and Susie love that tape—it gives them a chance to see themselves in action before the actual show, a chance to study critically their own performances.

Self-correction, it might be called. Buster’s personality on TV continues to improve. (He’s on a diet, too, since he saw that double-chin bouncing through the takes!)

New York’s pre-checking of the tapes has helped, too, with good advice and counsel. Now it looks like King Korn Cereal may put the show on other stations.

Chrysmobile’s creativity is primarily in production values. Back in the days before tape, the Economy Run commercials would have been a real hodge-podge of confusion: the drivers fumbling their lines in a live studio; the film clips jarring the continuity; the on-camera announcer stagily pointing to a chart.

Chrysmobile happens to be an important advertiser. And viewers have a way of figuring out that the way Chrysmobile puts their commercials together is a pretty good indication of the way they put their cars together. So the end product needs every creative facet of production values.

Tape has made this possible—with the speed of live and the sureness of film (but in two days, not two weeks or two months!)

FAST CLIENT REVIEW FOR CANADIAN COMMERCIALS. Both agency and client were available on the set—and for immediate playback and approval—on these tape commercials for Molson’s Beer and Export Ale of Canada. Andrew G. Kershaw, director of client services for MacLaren Advertising, Toronto, points approval, while Todd Russell (right), spokesman for Molson’s watches himself on the monitor. Others, left to right, are Ray Arsenault, director; Lew McCall, MacLaren; Joseph Pal, Molson’s.

* * *




In a major installation offering television tape facilities for commercials, you may expect a minimum of the following equipment:
- 3 or more TV tape recorders
- 3 or more complete TV camera chains
- 1 film chain, telop and slide projector equipment
- Complete lighting equipment, in varied sizes
- Complete sound recording equipment, booms, etc.
- Special effects generator (matting amplifier) equipment

The major tape installations also may make available these services:
- Scenic designer,
- Set construction facilities,
- Graphic arts,
- Casting service.

And it may also supply or be able to obtain:
- Mobile or remote field equipment for location work,
- Film animation and film insert service,
- Film kinescopes of completed tapes.

Mobile equipment now is available for lease to producers. Also: remote equipment can microwave the signal to the tape recording facilities. Film animation and special film inserts sometimes needed can be sub-contracted.

The quick kine of the finished work is handy to carry around in your pocket for 16mm film projection. Some producers supply 15-minute quick kines on the premises. Others arrange for kines from outside sources.

Film kines for audition, spot use and “delayed broadcasts” were being made in mid-’59 for such national advertisers as Maxwell House, Oasis and Crackerjack.

PRE-PLANNING 10 WESTCLOX COMMERCIALS FOR TWO DAYS. Pre-production planning was the key to taping 10 Westclox commercials in two days, Al Cantwell, live production head of BBDO, New York, points out. Here Cantwell (in dark suit) discusses the circular grouping of the nine major set areas with scenic designer Willis Knighton, while producer Bill Jackson and art director Alphonse Normandia (seated) look on.

One full day in advance of shooting was spent on lighting. Cantwell estimates the 10 Westclox commercials on tape cost only 60% of what they would as live TV productions.


Here is the secret of the many optical tricks, wipes and the electronic combination-scene magic of live television. The special effects generator (also called matting amplifier) can outmaneuver the film optical house because it performs the same operation repeatedly, flawlessly, instantaneously during production.

Tape records the optical at once and it can be checked and approved or re-made immediately—with none of the waiting around for days and weeks that film optical work requires.

Color as well as black-and-white special effects can be made the same way with the same equipment, same tape.

Commercials use a great many scene-to-scene transitions (sometimes too many!) because a long story has to be condensed into a minute or shorter space of time.

Straight cuts, fades and dissolves can be made with ordinary live equipment, but the matting amplifier is necessary for the wipe. The accompanying diagram shows a number of these featured in commercials.

INSTANTANEOUS “WIPES” AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Here are the 24 basic geometric “wipes” produced by the Telechrome special effects generator. Simply dial the one you want for scene transitions.

White areas indicate the new scene, black the old scene. Arrows indicate direction of movement of new scene. Same “wipes” may be executed in reverse or normal-reverse so that the total number possible is increased to 72.

Similar optical effects in film require several days of laboratory, editing and processing time. Live TV and videotape record them instantaneously—in color or black-and-white.

Matte means, roughly, the replacement of part of a scene with another scene—a combination of the two scenes into one.

Wipes are the combination of the closing of one scene with the start of the next. Split-screens offer two or more components from different cameras combined into the same scene.

But the special effects generator has a still more important contribution to commercials: it can matte a person or a product from one scene into an entirely different scene—and make it appear that the person or product is a natural part of the new scene. This opens up such commercial uses as:

- 1. One person can play a dual role. For instance, a girl can sing a jingle with herself. (In the programming field, Dinah Shore has done this trick—in color.) A housewife can make a dual demonstration in the same scene.
- 2. “Pixie” characters, smaller than life size, can work in the same scene with normal people. For instance, Kellogg’s used a song-and-dance couple that appeared only 6” high next to Dennis James and a Corn Flakes box.
- 3. The reverse, giant-sized characters, also are possible.
- 4. A product can be popped into a scene, made to appear in a performer’s hands—and popped out again, at will.
- 5. A “dream scene” can be popped into a cloud above a person’s head.
- 6. A split-screen can represent two persons talking on a phone—or a before-and-after demonstration. A montage of scenes from several cameras and recorders is possible.
- 7. The illusion of stop motion can be obtained in making products dance, jump, move around with live characters.
- 8. Live faces can pop on product labels and give testimonials.

There is no end to the creativity in commercials that may be sparked by the matting amplifier. This is only the beginning.


Electronic matting also is the key to a new treatment in settings. A picture no larger than a post card can become the background setting for live action performers working in front of it. So:

- 9. A still photograph made in a distant factory may be used as background to make the announcer appear to be there.
- 10. Miniature sets can be constructed and “blown-up” to life size, with real performers and foreground props added from another camera. CBS calls this “Video Scene” and links the two cameras together to permit synchronous panning, tilting, etc.
- 11. Drawings, paintings, stylized art for settings can be used. You can build one of these “sets” in minutes and the cost is negligible.
- 12. Moving picture backgrounds can be had simply by combining the live performers and foreground props with a pre-shot film or background.

This last is the equivalent of background projection in film work. Another variation is used in live TV without electronic matting. But matting plus tape broadens the opportunities—and fool-proofs ‘em.

Again, the potential is limited only by the imagination.

DOWN TO THE SEA WITH NBC. NBC sent its WRCA-TV mobile field equipment across the East River to the Brooklyn docks for this Gem Razor commercial. The demonstration is being staged for the camera in the foreground, while another camera on the lower deck picks up the announcer, Bill Shipley (hand on head, at lower left).

The signal was microwaved back to NBC, Manhattan, and recorded on tape there. Kenyon & Eckhardt was the agency.
BUSY IDLEWILD AIRPORT MICROWAVED TO MANHATTAN. Pittsburgh Plate Glass used Idlewild International Airport on Long Island as the setting for a remote tape commercial featuring the PPG plate glass products in Chrysler Corporation cars.

Against the setting of a water fountain and the Idlewild Control tower, the cars were photographed in action by a remote camera truck and the signal was microwaved to the CBS tape center in Manhattan—a distance of about 15 miles. Running shots of the cars were edited for length on the final tape. Al Cantwell, BBDO, produced.
READY FOR THE BIG PLUNGE INTO LOCATION TAPE. In one of the early 1959 tape location experiments, NTA Telestudios proved that 8 commercials could be successfully produced in 2 working days.

The New York production house took tape recording equipment, live cameras, reflectors and lights to the Englewood Golf Club in New Jersey. In addition to swimming pool sequences, other commercials featured the golf course, a roadside lane and other exterior locations. George Gould, head of NTA Telestudios, produced and directed.
ED SULLIVAN COMMERCIALS TAPED ON MOBILE UNIT. Mercury car commercials for the Ed Sullivan show were pioneers in mobile tape recording. Here the tape recorder equipment goes on location in Manhattan, using the twin trucks of Termini Videotape Services, Inc. (two trucks simplify New York’s parking problems).

More than a dozen tape mobile units were operating in the United States and Europe by the close of 1959.


Live television has long found it possible to superimpose a reverse cartoon (white on black) over a live action scene, without any electronic matting. But to get a character drawn in black on white or without the background “bleeding through,” electronic matting is needed. This brings up two more variations.

- 13. Cartoon animation can be prepared in advance on film, then matted into live action, electronically. Jingle duets of a housewife and a cartoon character are possible (the entire sound track with both voices would be prerecorded before the cartoon is made; then in live action the housewife would mime back to her pre-recorded voice).
- 14. Live people can be matted against cartoon backgrounds. This opens up a whole world of “Alice in Wonderland” treatments.

These two live-cartoon variations, as mentioned, indicate the cartoon work has been done in advance of the tape production. This takes time, as a fully animated cartoon must. But there is a short-cut way to have certain cartoon effects on the live stages with only hours of advance preparation:


“Cellomatic” is the trade name for a process engineered to produce optical effects and the limited animation of cartoon figures, diagrams and titles before the live television cameras. Projected against a translucent screen, the live cameras on the other side of the screen record the action, either in black-and-white or color.

Film cameras never have photographed commercials in this process very satisfactorily (there is too little light) but live cameras and tape now combine to take out all the hazard.

“Cellomatic” can do some surprising things in simple animation. It bears inquisitive exploration by writers, art directors and producers. It can be used by itself or, under certain circumstances, with electronic matting.


In commercials, the titles we have always with us. Too many, in most cases . . . but probably because the writers have lacked visual creativity and so must rely on “words, words, words” to tell their story.

But certain titles are definitely needed to implant more firmly key copy points in the viewers’ minds, or to spell out unusual trade names and ingredients or to familiarize with signature or logo styles.

These can be superimposed or “burned in,” white on black, as they generally are in live TV. Or they can be given greater clarity—and distinction—by electronic matting which blocks out the background and permits their full character to come through.

Outlined letters, shaded letters (in film work these are called “drop shadow” titles) and full color can be used advantageously.

We might add this to the electronic matting list:
- 15. Clean titles, etched more legibly over live action scenes.

And tele-tape makes certain the title is correctly positioned and perfectly timed. It sometimes misses on that “first try” in live TV!

HOW TO MAKE TRICK “POP ON” WITH ONE RECORDER. Many of film’s optical tricks can be accomplished without electronic matting or multiple recorders. For instance, in this commercial for Pittsburgh Plate Glass with Durward Kirby, the mirror did a “pop on.”


Field cameras and equipment can pick up location scenes, remote from the studio. These may be piped in by cable or micro-waved back to the studio, where the Videotape recorder awaits.

Still better is for the tele-tape equipment to go to the scene in a mobile cruiser and record the photography on the spot. Each take then can be checked immediately by crew and performers. This plan has been especially useful in shooting automobiles on location.

Mercury, bringing out its 1960 models, took live cameras and tape to its test track near Detroit. Here, in secret, the cars were shot and the tape reel brought back to New York for intensive study by the writers, art directors and producers before the actual commercials were written.

Since the cars were shot months before the public unveiling of the new models, film could not be used. A stray print might have fallen into the hands of competition.

Location jaunts can be expensive—and it’s tough to come back and find you didn’t get the scene you want. Tape on the spot tells you when you’ve got it. No “protection” shots are needed after that. Wrap up and go home!

Here are some location ideas for tape: To shoot customer interviews at a dealer’s. To present on-the-spot specials at a department store. To present a family of satisfied users—in their own home. Etc.

Tele-tape also can record all the usual location shots of film commercials: the couple at the seaside, the girl beside the daisy field, the kids on the playground, the farmer riding his tractor. Tape, with the mobile cruiser, is now as big as all outdoors.

FAST SPLICING OF TAPE SPEEDS UP EDITING PROCEDURES: One of tape’s earlier problems was splicing. “Roll-over” of picture often resulted if two sections of tape were incorrectly joined on the crude equipment then available. Better equipment and more professional experience in the operation soon solved this and speeded up editing procedures.

Above, the Ampex Splicer as it looks when mounted on the recorder for editing work. Editing of tape is generally done by the operator of the recorder right at the machine, under the supervision of the producer-director.
How the 2-inch video tape looks when spliced.


It is well to reiterate that tape production of commercials can follow two routes:

- 1) shot straight through from start to finish like a live commercial, or
- 2) shot in individual scenes—regardless of sequence—like a film commercial, for re-editing later. Film components can be introduced in either form (a cartoon, for instance, or perhaps equipment schedules have made it easier to shoot film of that farmer on the tractor).

One of the reasons major installations need two or more tape recorders is for the professional editing and re-editing procedure.

Contrast and brilliance of scenes can be re-balanced. “Mood” can be changed.

Old film commercials and old tape commercials may be reedited with a single new scene introduced. BBDO, for instance, uses this method to up-date and revise Armstrong Cork commercials. Other national sponsors have used this technique to localize commercials for each individual market.

Or a new commercial may follow the re-editing procedure with a variety of components to be brought together.

In that case, three tape recorders may be necessary. Two machines are used for playback of previously recorded components (to which film chains, slide, balop and additional live camera work can be added) while the third machine is recording the new version.

This permits full experimentation on timing, length of scenes, titles and super-imposures, as the editing scene-to-scene transitions—dissolves, wipes, etc.—are added.

Alternate versions of the same commercial may be made at this time, too. This is good for review and research and, with careful planning, opens the opportunity for valuable creative exploration.

On occasion, two tape recorders can be used to record—or re-record—picture and sound separately. This is the equivalent of film’s “double system” sound and simplifies certain types of editing.

TAPE TO KINESCOPE IS LICKED FOR “D.B.s” (delayed broadcast) Early TV tape commercials on network programs had problems in handling delayed broadcast stations because kinescopes were of poor quality.

The first commercial to come up with satisfactory kines for “d.b.” station use was this one for Crackerjack, produced in the early part of 1959 and telecast by tape over ABC’s “Lone Ranger,” then sent by kine film to 30 stations not on the original feed.

Oddly enough, the “low-key” commercial had very tricky lighting problems, since it was set at dockside with rippling water highlights (achieved by jiggling the be-mirrored water trough at lower left). NTA Telestudios, New York, produced for Burnett.


Film editing sometimes prepares “A” and “B” rolls for printing a composite. (Not to be confused with “A-wind” and “B-wind” designations which refer to how the sensitive side of the tape is placed on the reel.)

On the two rolls “A” may contain scenes 1, 3, 5, 7, while “B” contains scenes 2, 4, 6. The scenes run long enough to overlap the preceding and succeeding scenes when dissolves and wipes are required.

A similar editing plan is feasible for tape. Alternate scenes, previously recorded, are edited on “A” and “B” rolls and go on the two tape machines for playback. At the same time, film scenes, slides and supers may be picked up from other chains. Live action material and Cellomatic also may be used. This is the editing process described in Chapter 2 for the complex Chrysmobile commercials.

In preparing the “A” and “B” rolls, precise timing is required. An automatic tape timer that records tape travel in hours, minutes and seconds and can be used to locate any point on the recording.


The cue track, as recorded on TV tape, is a track quite separate from the audio track. It is never heard in telecast. It has two important uses. For instance, a tone signal can be dubbed into the cue track on the finished recording so that it automatically stops the tape at the conclusion.

This cue track also can be used for recording voice comments during production or during review. The client might want to make his comments during reviewing as to each of the takes. The producer might want to make suggestions to the editor.

This cue track can be erased separately at any time, just as either the audio or picture tracks can be erased and rerecorded, without disturbing the other components.

Editing may use the cue track to alert the control room that a wipe or special effects is coming up. Likewise, splicing points may be indicated with split-second accuracy.

Of course, the tape recording of straight-through live TV commercials will not require the type of editing described in this chapter. This is needed only where film-like scene-by-scene staging, lighting control and additional production values are desired. Or where many components are to be brought together and professional skill in editing is mandatory.

Just remember that, when needed, the special effects generator and professional craftsmen can give the tape commercial an advantage over anything done before in either live or film.

It has the best of both. Plus greater flexibility. Plus speed. Plus lower costs.

Plus the opportunity for greater creativity.

UNION OIL COMMERCIAL STAGES HORSE RACE ON TAPE. The thrill of a close finish at the races goes on TV tape at Hollywood Park for one of a series of Union Oil commercials shot with mobile equipment.

Camera on top catches the action while recorder inside is taping, with immediate playback to check the “rushes.” Mobile Video Tapes, Inc., handled production for the agency, Erwin, Wasey, Ruthrauff & Ryan.

* * *


- Neal McNaughten and Jack Hauser of Ampex
- Tom Bradshaw of RCA
- Russell Roth of MMM
- Jim Manilla of McCann-Erickson
- Henry Whiteside of J. Walter Thompson
- Gordon Minter, Hooper White, Glan Heisch and Chet Glassley of Burnett
- Howard Meighan and John Lanigan of Videotape Center
- George Gould of NTA Telestudios
- Newt Schwinn, John Koushouris and John Hundley of CBS
- Jim Hergen, Jerry Madden of NBC
- George Huntington and Walter McNiff of TvB
- Al Boyars of Transfllm
- Dick Moore, John Vrba and Val Conte of KTTV
- Fred Ball of Desilu
- Jack Reynolds of MGM
- Al Cantwell of BBDO
- Fred Raphael of Filmways
- Russ Neale of Hastings House
- Del Sharbutt
- Gloria, my wife, and many kind friends and severe critics . . .

- Ampex
- Videotape Productions of New York
- NTA Telestudios
- Termini Videotape Services
- Chrysler Corp.
- Nabisco
- Westinghouse
- Bell & Howell
- Pan American
- Barker Bros.
- Kellogg
- U. S. Steel
- Telechrome
- Cellomatic
and all the photographers . . .

BETTY CROCKER STARS IN SPECTACULAR LOCAL COMMERCIALS. One of the first TV tape “spectaculars” done by a local station was staged by WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, for General Mills. Here Betty Crocker (Adelaide Hawley) rehearses the commercials with columnist Cedric Adams.
Commercials starring Betty Crocker were recorded remote on video tape from General Mills’ new building in suburban Minneapolis. WCCO’s mobile truck went on the job, with signals micro-waved to downtown station.
Inserts for commercials were picked up by WCCO’s live TV cameras in reception room of milling company’s kitchens. Taping extended the efficiency of cameras, covering both programming and commercial recording on different days.
Telephone from downtown WCCO control room kept contact between crew and tape recording. Four commercials and twenty minutes of the program were done on tape. Telecast December 16, 1958, the show scored a smashing 21.3 Trendex.
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